jane fryers is a london-based chapeau architect with lots and lots of style and glamour. she is also one of the four girl DJs in the shellac sisters, a group of retro-styling ladies who all wear jane’s ace creations every time they pull out their crackly old 78s and beautiful old gramophones. I take photographs of the shellac sisters and part of the reason they are a joy to photograph is that they all have stunning headwear. we asked jane a few questions, and figure we need a new hat wearing goddess in london during the week of isabella blow’s funeral, don’t we?
chickfactor: what is your favourite hat that you’ve seen in a film or photograph — or if you can’t choose, tell us three.
jane fryers: I can’t choose one or even three, although I did see a fabulous hat in the film the maltese falcon the other day. I was so busy trying to work out how it was made that I missed half the plot of the film.
cf: are there any designers from the modern day or the past that have inspired you? or perhaps not designers but someone else?
jane: stephen jones is the most inspiring modern day milliner. his designs are glamorous and humorous, and he is such a nice man.
cf: what happens to your hats when the shellac sisters wear them for a night out?
jane: they get lots of compliments, thanks to my beautiful sisters, who are always ready to tell anyone who asks that I made them.
cf: can you explain how you became a shellac sister and what it takes to be one?
jane: I’d just bought a wind-up gramophone from portobello market and I took it to the park for virginia’s birthday picnic. she loved it and wanted one, and we joked that once we had two we could dj with them. then we met theo and jenny, two gorgeous girls with gramophones and the shellac sisters were born.
cf: how did you get into millinery yourself?
jane: I wanted to do something creative and had always wanted to go the the london college of fashion. I thought I’d try millinery, beadwork and silver jewelry making … a term of each … but I never got to try the others. one lesson of millinery and I was hooked.
cf: do you feel underdressed without a chapeaux?
jane: no, but I always feel better dressed with one and a hat is a great conversation starter.
cf: where would you like to see your hats on sale?
jane: I would like to see my hats on sale in beautiful surroundings with lots of mirrors.
cf: and who would you like to see wearing them?
jane: I don’t mind who wears my hats as long as they feel fabulous in them.
cf: what else does jane do while not shellacking or hat-making?
jane: I work on commercials for TV/film, dance salsa and hang out with unsuitable boys.
cf: what hat will you put on for summer?
jane: I’m working on a 1960s inspired creation for ascot.
cf: thanks jane.
photographs (except dorchester one): gail o’hara